US9789219B2 - Glycol sensor for feedback loop control - Google Patents

Glycol sensor for feedback loop control Download PDF

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Publication number
US9789219B2
US9789219B2 US13280320 US201113280320A US9789219B2 US 9789219 B2 US9789219 B2 US 9789219B2 US 13280320 US13280320 US 13280320 US 201113280320 A US201113280320 A US 201113280320A US 9789219 B2 US9789219 B2 US 9789219B2
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compound
human
occupiable space
activity
diffusion device
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US20120097753A1 (en )
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Craig Kelly
Richard W. Weening
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Prolitec Inc
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Prolitec Inc
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61LMETHODS OR APPARATUS FOR STERILISING MATERIALS OR OBJECTS IN GENERAL; DISINFECTION, STERILISATION, OR DEODORISATION OF AIR; CHEMICAL ASPECTS OF BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS, OR SURGICAL ARTICLES; MATERIALS FOR BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS, OR SURGICAL ARTICLES
    • A61L9/00Disinfection, sterilisation or deodorisation of air
    • A61L9/14Disinfection, sterilisation or deodorisation of air using sprayed or atomised substances including air-liquid contact processes
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61LMETHODS OR APPARATUS FOR STERILISING MATERIALS OR OBJECTS IN GENERAL; DISINFECTION, STERILISATION, OR DEODORISATION OF AIR; CHEMICAL ASPECTS OF BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS, OR SURGICAL ARTICLES; MATERIALS FOR BANDAGES, DRESSINGS, ABSORBENT PADS, OR SURGICAL ARTICLES
    • A61L2209/00Aspects relating to disinfection, sterilisation or deodorisation of air
    • A61L2209/10Apparatus features
    • A61L2209/11Apparatus for controlling air treatment
    • A61L2209/111Sensor means, e.g. motion, brightness, scent, contaminant sensors
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING, AIR-HUMIDIFICATION, VENTILATION, USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F3/00Air-conditioning systems in which conditioned primary air is supplied from one or more central stations to distributing units in the rooms or spaces where it may receive secondary treatment; Apparatus specially designed for such systems
    • F24F3/12Air-conditioning systems in which conditioned primary air is supplied from one or more central stations to distributing units in the rooms or spaces where it may receive secondary treatment; Apparatus specially designed for such systems characterised by the treatment of the air otherwise than by heating and cooling
    • F24F3/16Air-conditioning systems in which conditioned primary air is supplied from one or more central stations to distributing units in the rooms or spaces where it may receive secondary treatment; Apparatus specially designed for such systems characterised by the treatment of the air otherwise than by heating and cooling by purification, e.g. by filtering; by sterilisation; by ozonisation
    • F24F2003/1689Air-conditioning systems in which conditioned primary air is supplied from one or more central stations to distributing units in the rooms or spaces where it may receive secondary treatment; Apparatus specially designed for such systems characterised by the treatment of the air otherwise than by heating and cooling by purification, e.g. by filtering; by sterilisation; by ozonisation by odorising
    • F24F2011/0032
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING, AIR-HUMIDIFICATION, VENTILATION, USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F2110/00Control inputs relating to air properties
    • F24F2110/50Air quality properties
    • F24F2110/65Concentration of specific substances or contaminants
    • F24F2110/66Volatile organic compounds [VOC]
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02ATECHNOLOGIES FOR ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02A50/00TECHNOLOGIES FOR ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE in human health protection
    • Y02A50/20Air quality improvement or preservation
    • Y02A50/24Pollution monitoring
    • Y02A50/242Pollution monitoring characterized by the pollutant
    • Y02A50/249Volatile Organic Compounds [VOC]
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02BCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO BUILDINGS, e.g. HOUSING, HOUSE APPLIANCES OR RELATED END-USER APPLICATIONS
    • Y02B30/00Energy efficient heating, ventilation or air conditioning [HVAC]
    • Y02B30/70Efficient control or regulation technologies
    • Y02B30/78Ventilation adapted to air quality

Abstract

A method of maintaining a desired level of an aerosolized compound within a space to be treated with the compound, the method including providing a diffusion device with the compound in liquid form and a control system for operating the device. The control system includes a sensor in fluid communication with the air within the space to be treated configured to sense the concentration of the compound aerosolized within the space. The diffusion device is operated to diffuse the compound into the space. The concentration of the compound within the space to be treated is sensed with the sensor and operation of the diffusion device is altered based on the concentration of the compound sensed to achieve a desired concentration of compound within the space. The sensing and operation altering steps are repeated periodically to maintain the desired concentration of the compound within the space.

Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims priority to U.S. Provisional application Ser. No. 61/405,952, filed on Oct. 22, 2010, the disclosure of which is incorporate herein by reference. The present application is also a continuation-in-part of pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/090,240, filed on Apr. 19, 2011 which is a CIP of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/691,363, filed on Mar. 26, 2007 now issued as U.S. Pat. No. 7,930,068, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

The inactivation of airborne microorganisms as a method of inhibiting the transmission of disease can be achieved through the use of airborne air sanitizers, air disinfectants, and air sterilizers (hereafter disinfectants). Diffusion controlled encounters between airborne microorganisms and disinfectants serves as a basis for inactivation of the microorganism by mechanisms that are microorganism and disinfectant specific.

As a result of the requirement for diffusion controlled encounters between the airborne microorganism and disinfectants, a necessary step in the microorganism inactivation process, the rate of microorganism inactivation by the disinfectant is dependent upon the rate of the microorganism-disinfectant encounters. The rate of the encounters can be represented as a second-order kinetic process. The rate of a second-order event can be defined as a function of the airborne concentrations of the two reacting components, the microorganism and the disinfectant. The airborne concentration of the disinfectant is therefore an important parameter controlling the rate of airborne microorganism inactivation by airborne disinfectant and therefore the control of the airborne concentration of the disinfectant is critical for any air disinfection process.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

The accompanying drawing figures, which are incorporated in and constitute a part of the description, illustrate several aspects of the invention and together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the disclosure. A brief description of the figures is as follows:

FIG. 1 illustrates concentrations over time of glycol compounds within a space to be treated as determined by a photoionization detection device capable of detecting propylene glycol, isopropyl alcohol, and triethylene glycol with the atmosphere of the space.

FIG. 2 illustrates the concentration over time of a glycol compound with a space to be treated as determined by a photoionization detection device to show the effect of different activities within the space on the airborne glycol concentration within the space.

FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic view of an occupiable space 50 to be treated by an aerosolized compound discharged from a liquid diffusion device 52 (including a control system) with the aid of an auxiliary fan 72 and shows a source of pressurized gas 108 coupled to the liquid diffusion device 52 and a sensor 70 provided within the space 50 for detecting the concentration of one or more of the chemical components of the aerosolized compound.

FIG. 4 is a process flow diagram showing one example embodiment of a method of maintaining a desired level of an aerosolized compound within an occupiable space.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the work that resulted in the present disclosure, an aerosol generator was used that produces a controlled output of an airborne disinfectant, which to date has been composed of triethylene glycol or propylene glycol (hereafter glycol). The aerosolized glycol rapidly comes into equilibrium with the gas phase resulting in an environmentally defined distribution of gaseous and liquid phase glycol distributed within the accessible air volume. In the absence of a sensor feed-back loop, the output of glycol from the aerosol generator can only be controlled through indirect methods, e.g., through duty cycle, timed program, or manual on/off mechanisms while environmental variables can dramatically and dynamically alter the airborne concentration of gaseous glycol. Such approaches to control of glycol output are described in commonly owned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/691,363, now issued as U.S. Pat. No. 7,930,068, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

The present disclosure is directed to the development and incorporation of a sensor that is capable of detecting and monitoring the concentration of gas phase glycol into the operation of a airborne disinfectant diffusion device. If a reliable sensor can be identified than it can be integrated into a suitable control system to enable inhibition or excitation of the aerosol generator output in a manner that would allow the maintenance of a predetermined concentration of glycol vapor within a space to be treated. This would permit efficiency of operation of the device where the appropriate effective concentration is maintained for the desired efficacy without the distribution of an excess amount of disinfectant that may precipitate ontop surfaces in the treated space and possibly be wasteful of the disinfectant.

It is not intended to limit the present disclosure to any particular device for emitting or aerosolizing a glycol or other airborne disinfectant. Whatever method or device is used to distribute the airborne disinfectant through a space to be treated, the concentration of the disinfectant present in the space is to be measured and the concentration of disinfectant measured can be used to drive the operation of the device or method to distribute more or less disinfectant into the space.

Photoionization detection (PID) detectors were identified which had the capability to photoionize molecules with ionization potentials<10.6 eV is an effective method of detecting and monitoring the gas-phase concentration of glycol in the treated space. For verification of the detection capability, a comparison was made against a known device, namely a Baseline®-Mocon®, inc. VOC-TRAQ USB Toxic Gas Detector and Data Logger using a Silver piD-TECH® plus 0.02-20 ppm dynamic range (isobutylene) sensor.

FIG. 1 provides experimental verification of the ability to detect propylene glycol, isopropyl alcohol, and triethylene glycol by the PID sensor or detector when the PDI detector is exposed to high concentrations of the respective vapors. The figure also provides an indication of baseline noise/variability in an uncontrolled interior environment.

Propylene glycol gas-phase concentration was studied under uncontrolled ventilation rate conditions as a function of aerosol generation rate, FIG. 2. In addition to increased sensor readings that correlate with increased aerosol generation rate, low-frequency oscillations are observed that correlate with HVAC activity (air conditioning) and high-frequency oscillations that correlate with room entry/exit activity. When integration is completed, the sensor readings may be used to control the aerosol generation rate to compensate for the baseline variability associated with ventilation rate variability (e.g., HVAC and room entry/exit activity). Additional sensors could be provided in the control system for the operation of the disinfectant diffusion device to respond to such events before the events have an adverse impact on the concentration disinfectant in the space. By way of a non-limiting example, the control system may include a door sensor that would trigger a reaction by the diffusion system when an entry of exit is recorded. Alternatively, the control system may include a detector indicating when the HVAC system feeding the treated space is activated and the nature of the HVAC system's operation (heating, cooling, venting, air or heat exchange, etc.).

It is anticipated that a photoionization detector that is capable of ionizing molecules with ionization potentials of <9.6 eV may also be used within the scope of the present disclosure. The photoionization potential of triethylene glycol is approximately 9.6 eV and the ionization potential of propylene glycol is assumed to be similar to that for triethylene glycol or approximately 9.6 eV. If detection at <9.6 eV is as sensitive for glycol detection as at <10.6 eV, the lower ionization potential detector may provide improved selectivity for the glycols by virtue of not detecting potentially interfering molecules greater than about 9.6 eV, thereby eliminating potential contribution to the sensor noise from ionizable volatile organic compounds with ionization potentials in the 9.6-10.6 eV range which are not the desired disinfectant compounds. If the <9.6 eV detector is unable to detect the glycols, or the sensitivity is greatly reduced, use of a dual detector may be developed to subtract out the <9.6 eV signal to improve the selectivity for the detection of the glycols by virtue of removing potentially interfering signals from easily ionizable volatile organic compounds. Selectivity toward the glycols is therefore expected by one of the two strategies, with success of each dependent upon the precise ionization potential of the glycols and the efficiency of ionization of the glycols by each of the two detectors. Selectivity is potentially of value under conditions of interfering, non-glycol, volatile organic compounds.

Upon finalization of the sensor configuration, as described above, the sensor may be integrated into the any sort of aerosol generators to enable a feed-back control mechanism facilitating automatic aerosolization rate control for maintenance of a predefined glycol gas-phase concentration. That is, the sensor will serve a function that is comparable to a thermostat for temperature control, except it will maintain the glycol, rather than the heat, level. Such sensor configurations may be used to control operation of a number of different devices that may operate to distribute or diffuse disinfectant within a space to be treated.

It is anticipated that the sensing, analysis and detection of glycols compounds as described herein may be extended to other aerosol organic compounds as well. It is anticipated that similar analysis and evaluation of data received from sensor(s) positioned within a particular space may be used to determine the presence of other airborne organic compounds and also to identify potentially unknown compounds. It is not the intention of limit the present disclosure to solely the identification and evaluation of glycols or to any particular disinfectant compounds.

While the invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not intended to be limited to the specific embodiments set forth above. Thus, it is recognized that those skilled in the art will appreciate that certain substitutions, alterations, modifications, and omissions may be made without departing from the spirit or intent of the invention. Accordingly, the foregoing description is meant to be exemplary only, the invention is to be taken as including all reasonable equivalents to the subject matter of the invention, and should not limit the scope of the invention set forth in the following claims.

Claims (16)

What is claimed is:
1. A method of maintaining a desired level of an aerosolized compound within a human occupiable space that is subjected to uncontrolled ventilation rate conditions arising from HVAC activity and from entry/exit activity of human occupants moving into and out of the human occupiable space, the method comprising:
providing a diffusion device including the compound to be aerosolized from a liquid form and including a control system for operating the diffusion device to diffuse the compound into the air within the human occupiable space to be treated irrespective of the presence of human occupants, the control system of the diffusion device including a sensor in fluid communication with the air within the human occupiable space to be treated with the compound, and the sensor being configured to sense the concentration of the compound aerosolized within the human occupiable space to be treated;
operating the diffusion device to diffuse the compound into the human occupiable space to be treated throughout a treatment period in which the human occupiable space is subjected to uncontrolled ventilation rate conditions arising from HVAC activity and from entry/exit activity of human occupants moving into and out of the human occupiable space;
sensing the concentration of the compound within the human occupiable space to be treated with the sensor throughout a treatment period in which the human occupiable space is subjected to uncontrolled ventilation rate conditions arising from HVAC activity and from entry/exit activity of human occupants moving into and out of the human occupiable space, and altering the operation of the diffusion device based on the concentration of the compound sensed within the human occupiable space if necessary to achieve a desired concentration of compound within the human occupiable space to be treated; and
repeating the sensing and altering step periodically during the treatment period to maintain the desired concentration of the compound within the human occupiable space to be treated.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein the compound is a glycol.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein the compound is one of triethylene glycol and propylene glycol.
4. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
monitoring other activity within the human occupiable space to be treated; and
altering the operation of the diffusion device based on the monitoring of such other activity within the human occupiable space to be treated.
5. The method of claim 1 wherein the sensor is a photoionization detection device selected to sense the ionization potential of the compound to be diffused into the human occupiable space to be treated.
6. The method of claim 5 wherein the sensor includes a pair of photoionization detection devices that are used in combination to reduce the possible false determination of the concentration of the compound within the human occupiable space based on the presence of other compounds having similar ionization potentials.
7. A liquid diffusion device for treating a human occupiable space that is subjected to uncontrolled ventilation rate conditions arising from HVAC activity and from entry/exit activity of human occupants moving into and out of the human occupiable space with a compound aerosolized from a liquid, the liquid diffusion device comprising:
a control system for operating the liquid diffusion device to diffuse the compound into the occupiable space to be treated;
the control system including a sensor in fluid communication with the air in the human occupiable space to be treated, the sensor configured to sense the concentration of the compound within the air of the human occupiable space to be treated irrespective of the presence of human occupants throughout a treatment period in which the human occupiable space is subjected to uncontrolled ventilation rate conditions arising from HVAC activity and entry/exit activity of human occupants moving into and out of the human occupiable space; and
the control system configured to alter the operation of the liquid diffusion device based on the concentration of the compound sensed within the human occupiable space to be treated and a desired concentration of that compound.
8. The liquid diffusion device of claim 7 wherein the control system includes a feedback loop for the operation of the liquid diffusion device, with the sensor periodically sensing the concentration of the compound and the control system altering operation of the liquid diffusion device based on each sensed concentration of the compound sensed by the sensor.
9. The liquid diffusion device of claim 7 wherein the control system further comprises at least one additional sensor to sense activity within the human occupiable space to be treated and altering the operation of the liquid diffusion device based on activity within the human occupiable space sensed by the at least one additional sensor.
10. The liquid diffusion device of claim 7 wherein the sensor includes a photoionization detection device selected to sense the ionization potential of the compound to be diffused into the human occupiable space to be treated.
11. The liquid diffusion device of claim 10 wherein the sensor includes a pair of photoionization detection devices that are used in combination to reduce the possible false determination of the concentration of the compound within the human occupiable space based on the presence of other compounds having similar ionization potentials.
12. The method of claim 1 wherein sensing the concentration of the compound within the human occupiable space to be treated includes observing low-frequency oscillations that correlate with HVAC activity and observing high-frequency oscillations that correlate with entry/exit activity.
13. The method of claim 1 wherein altering the operation of the diffusion device includes controlling an aerosol generation rate to compensate for a baseline variability associated with ventilation rate variability.
14. The method of claim 4 wherein monitoring other activity within the human occupiable space includes monitoring one or more entries or exits from the human occupiable space, and wherein altering the operation of the diffusion device includes altering the operation of the diffusion device based at least in part on the monitoring of the one or more entries or exits.
15. The method of claim 4 wherein monitoring the other activity within the human occupiable space includes monitoring HVAC activity, and wherein altering the operation of the diffusion device includes altering the operation of the diffusion device based at least in part on the monitoring of the HVAC activity.
16. The method of claim 4 wherein monitoring other activity within the human occupiable space and altering the operation of the diffusion device includes anticipating changes in concentration of the compound from such other activity and responding to such other activity before the other activity has an adverse impact on the concentration of the compound in the human occupiable space.
US13280320 2007-03-26 2011-10-24 Glycol sensor for feedback loop control Active 2030-05-07 US9789219B2 (en)

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Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US11691363 US7930068B2 (en) 2007-03-26 2007-03-26 System and method of controlling operation of a liquid diffusion appliance
US40595210 true 2010-10-22 2010-10-22
US13090240 US20110253797A1 (en) 2007-03-26 2011-04-19 System and method of controlling operation of a liquid diffusion appliance
US13280320 US9789219B2 (en) 2007-03-26 2011-10-24 Glycol sensor for feedback loop control

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US13280320 US9789219B2 (en) 2007-03-26 2011-10-24 Glycol sensor for feedback loop control
US15729477 US20180093006A1 (en) 2007-03-26 2017-10-10 Feedback loop control of aerosolized compound within a human occupiable space

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US13090240 Continuation-In-Part US20110253797A1 (en) 2007-03-26 2011-04-19 System and method of controlling operation of a liquid diffusion appliance

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US15729477 Continuation US20180093006A1 (en) 2007-03-26 2017-10-10 Feedback loop control of aerosolized compound within a human occupiable space

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US9651531B2 (en) * 2013-06-28 2017-05-16 Aircuity, Inc. Air sampling system providing compound discrimination via comparative PID approach
CN106456820B (en) 2014-04-18 2018-05-25 T·A·康罗伊 The diffuser comprises a liquid level sensor network method and system

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